A rich musical life
The Basel music scene is very lively in the three fields of classical, jazz and rock / pop. The range of offers is varied and of high quality.
The Stadtcasino is at the heart of the classical music scene in Basel. It was built in 1876 and has an excellent acoustics for all kinds of music. In 2020, the extension by star architects Herzog & de Meuron will be inaugurated. In addition to high-class local orchestras and chamber groups, including the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Basel Sinfonietta and the Basel Chamber Orchestra, which has won the Swiss Music Prize 2019, international orchestras and soloists also regularly perform there. The Musikakademie (College of Music) has an excellent reputation and runs its own concert hall. A large part of the classical music scene is funded by the Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft (AMG), founded in 1876. The Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel is home to one of the largest collections of autographs, including works by Stravinsky, among others.
Jazz, Rock & Pop
There are several jazz clubs in Basel, such as «the bird’s eye jazz club» and there is also a series of festivals featuring all styles, from Dixie to Swing and avantgarde jazz. The Basel Jazz School is part of the well-known Musikakademie. For lovers of rock and pop music, concerts are organised at several smaller venues in the inner city, in various several clubs, the former military barracks in Kleinbasel Kaserne, in the Volkshaus and in the Sommercasino. Large events with up to 50,000 people are hosted at the St. Jakob Park. The music scene in Basel is lively and broad, with over 300 bands playing everything from Rock to Techno to Hip Hop. The Blues Now! concert series at the Volkshaus Basel makes it possible to experience the world’s most exciting contemporary blues artists embodying musical development in modern blues.
- Photo: Hans-Jörg Michel
Festivals in Basel will bring you everything, from world stars to hidden gems, and in all musical genres. While classical and jazz festivals (e.g. Offbeat Jazzfestival Basel) are held mainly indoors, rock and pop bands like to play outdoors, and the city becomes their stage. A highlight certainly is the international crossover Stimmenfestival in Lörrach, Germany: The top acts perform on central Marktplatz, while choirs and folk bands from all over the world perform in a more intimate setting in the parks and smaller clubs of the region. At the Jugendkulturfestival, the very young take over the city. During one weekend in June, young bands and dance groups show what they have achieved in weeks of practice. The Basel Early Music Festival also takes place every other year.
The Basel Tattoo is unique in Switzerland, and is the second largest open-air festival of its kind in the world. Every summer, the best representation orchestras from around the world, present catchy tunes combined with elaborately choreographed march sequences, and provide a marvellous spectacle of colour and light in front of the magnificent backdrop of the Kaserne Basel.
The European Festival of Youth Choirs Basel takes place every second year during the Ascension holidays. First held in 1992, it has now become firmly established, and, with more than 22,000 visitors, has become an integral part of the cultural life of Basel and the region. The festival focuses on interaction. Choirs representing a broad musical and cultural spectrum of European choir singing can be seen in more than 25 large and smaller concerts in Basel and the region.
Since 2006, the festival Opera Basel has become a very popular event in the late summer. The festival uses the concept of placing the stage and the orchestra in the middle of the visitors, so that the soloists can be experienced close at hand.